A Seth Godin-ism that I recently heard on the radioLitopia site in an interview on the new face of publishing. In Seth’s view, this isn’t a bad thing, it just means roles will be redefined, responsibilities will be greater on creators (authors, musicians, filmmakers, artists in general). Nothing you haven’t been hearing me say to you for a while now. You can of course listen to the whole 30 minute interview, or you can just read these highlights I pulled out. Though he is talking about book publishing, there are many parallels with film.

-The internet has expanded the amount of content created and consumed, but it destroyed the industry In his view, we won’t create and consume less, but for the bureaucratic and scarcity driven business models that once dominated the industry, the end is near. He even recounted conversations he has had in boardrooms of publishing houses where management seems content that they will retire long before the new models are figured out. WHAT?? He thinks publishers (and I will add distributors) are woefully unprepared for their new role as connector, curator and partner to creators. Few have invested in the platforms and dialogs with consumers that will drive the new economy.

-Don’t fear price, fear clutter He sees a divide in pricing structures for books and I can see it for films as well. As more and more titles flood the market, the price you can charge becomes directly related to how similar your story is to others and how much of a following you have as an artist. Recent ebook success stories from authors Joe Konrath and Amanda Hocking show the pricing divide. While you may not have heard of either of these authors, they are cranking the $.99 ebook to six figure incomes. Higher paid authors and higher priced books come from only the very tippy top of the traditional publishing world as does comparable filmmakers and studio films. The more similar the films you are making to others already in existence, the more difficulty you will have making money. Are you telling stories anyone could tell? If so, you’d better make them cheaply because the value to the consumer is low, maybe worthless.

-The film is just the center of a conversation He said a book here, but you get what I mean. The fans need a work to be the short hand for a group of like minded people, the “in” people, the cool people. Enable your work to become the entry point to a larger conversation with you and among others. If one hasn’t seen the movie (read the book), one can’t easily join the conversation. In this way, your work spreads.

He also touched on the need for publishers to adopt a whole new way of looking at their client relationships. If an author/creator has built their own audience, created a sense of loyalty, sourced a means of distribution directly and tells one of a kind stories, what do they need a third party (publisher, distributor) for? In order to sustain and remain relevant, publishers/distributors should also be in direct contact with an interest driven audience that can be serviced by partnerships with author/creators rather than staying focused on the retail market relationship. In other words, instead of insisting authors/creators use social media to building audience relationships, they should try doing more of it themselves.

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